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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Patrick M McLeod's blog

Straus vs. Smithee

Since incumbent Speaker Tom Craddick's (R-Midland) decision to not seek the office of Speaker of the Texas House was announced yesterday, battle lines have been drawn in the Speaker's race. On one side is Representative Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and on the other side is Representative John Smithee (R-Amarillo).

Hutchison Files For Exploratory Committee

The Dallas Morning News reports that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has filed papers to establish an exploratory committee for a possible run at the Texas Governor's mansion in 2010. By establishing this committee, Senator Hutchison can open a campaign office and being fundraising for her race.

The Permanent School Fund Takes A $300 Million Hit

As hardworking Americans of every collar continue to experience shock and awe when opening the latest statements from their retirement programs and investment advisors, the Austin American-Statesman reports that the market downturn has shaved $300 million off the estimated $1.4 billion dollar contribution from the Permanent School Fund to the next state budget.

More worrying is the overall devaluation of the PSF, which, according to this article, has fallen from $25.1 billion last fall to $17.5 billion this fall, erasing most of the Fund's gains in value accrued over the last decade.

A New Entry Into The Speaker's Race: Burt Solomons

Representative Burt Solomons, Carrollton Republican, has filed to run for Speaker of the House. There's some interesting rhetoric in Representative Solomons' filing via the Dallas Morning News:

On The Take In The Land Of 10,000 Lakes?

Question: What do you get when you combine a hotly-contested Senate race with a litigious incumbent whose wife was mentioned in a Texas lawsuit over financial impropriety on an insurance payment? You get a Texas Blue news item!

Some Revealing Polling From UT

Via the Statesman's excellent Postcards from the Lege blog, there's a new poll due to be released tomorrow from the University of Texas' Politics Project and Department of Government that takes the pulse of 550 registered Texas voters from mid-October on a couple of races and couple of interesting topics.

Abramoff Sentenced To Four Years

Disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced to four years in Federal prison this afternoon after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion, fraud and conspiracy.

Abramoff has already served 22 months in prison for crimes associated with his lobbying activities with regards to Indian casinos in Florida.

Texas Leads Nation In Number Of Uninsured

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report on income, poverty and health insurance in the United States in 2005-2007 (PDF). Unfortunately, Texas took first place in the percentage of state population that does not have health insurance: In the three year period from 2005 to 2007, an astounding 24.4% of Texas residents did not have health insurance.

"Illiterate Peasants" State Rep Primaried Out In Colorado

Yesterday was primary day in Colorado, that square state to our northwest. In a bit of news that gives me hope for the other side of the isle, State Representative Doug Bruce (R-Colorado Springs) was defeated in the GOP primary in State House District 15.

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